Nurses, “Ask for YOUR e-Health Record!”

Judy Murphy and Liz Palena Hall | September 10, 2012

As the 2012 National Health IT Week begins, we’d like to call on the 3.2  million registered nurses across the nation and the important roles they serve everyday as caregivers, advocates, educators, and health consumers to take action in their own health.  In support of ONC’s Consumer e-Health Program, the Alliance for Nursing Informatics (ANI) and American Nurses Association (ANA) have been working with ONC to engage the nation’s nurses to help patients get more involved in their health and health care by asking them to be more involved patients themselves.  In 2011, ANI and ANA joined leaders from the private and public sector and across government at ONC’s inaugural Consumer Health IT Summit event and made pledges in support of ONC’s Consumer Pledge Program. (See full ANI Exit Disclaimer and ANA Exit Disclaimer pledges.)

“Ask for Your e-Health Records Week” Campaign

This week, ANI and ANA are encouraging nurses nationwide to ask for a copy of their own electronic health record with the launch of a national “Ask for Your e-Health Records Week” campaign.  ANI and ANA recognize that nurses are uniquely positioned to have an impact on their patients, yet a recent ANI survey noted that the use of personal health records or secure portals is low among nurses.  Therefore, it’s important for nurses to be informed and aware of their right to access their own health information and how to use that information to improve their own health.  By asking for their own health information, they can share their experience with the patients and families they serve.  The idea of the campaign is to use health IT as the hook to get patients more involved in their own health and more involved as partners in their health care.

“Nurses’ participation is crucial because they touch every kind of patient in every venue of care, and traditionally serve as patient advocates.  So, when nurses experience managing their own health using IT tools like personal health records, they can share their firsthand experience and knowledge with the patients and families they serve, and a big impact on their health can quickly be made,” emphasized Judy Murphy, RN, FACMI, FHIMSS, FAAN, deputy national coordinator for programs and policies at ONC.

The campaign aims to leverage  the power of nurses through ANI’s 30 member organizations. Campaign messages will be communicated  using Twitter (#Ask4YourRecord), the ANI e-Health Pledge Facebook page, email listserves, and blog posts.  Voicing support for the nursing campaign, Mary Wakefield, PhD, RN, administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), said, “Nurses know that e-health records help them provide the right information to the right people – especially patients and their families – at the point of care.  To promote accessible e-health records, nurses like me should request a copy of our own record and, in turn, better manage our own health care.”

In conjunction with the national campaign, the ANA has developed an online pledge page Exit Disclaimer on the ANA Nursing World website where nurses are encouraged to submit a personal pledge to access their electronic health information and verify the accuracy and completeness of their person health record.  Nurses can also pledge to use their personal health information to make decisions about their health and costs of care, and educate others about how to access their own electronic health information to participate in health-related decision-making.

ANA also created a web-based toolkit Exit Disclaimer that provides information about how to access, manage and use personal health information.  ANA President Karen A. Daley, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN noted in a recent article Exit Disclaimer addressing  the ANA pledge, “We’ll be better advocates for patients’ involvement in their care once we experience and understand how using our personal health information informs our decisions and improves our health. We’ll have first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to be empowered in a health care system that is truly patient-centered.”

Both of these efforts are parallel to ONC’s Consumer e-Health Program which supports consumers in being partners in their health and health care through the use of health IT.   A health partnership supported by health IT is created through ONC’s three “A’s” for consumer engagement:

  • Secure, timely, electronic access to personal health information,
  • Encourage people to take action with their health information toward better health, and
  • Shift attitudes about the traditional roles of health care providers,  individuals, and their caregivers as supported by health IT

How YOU Can Get Engaged During Health IT Week

  • ŸSupport the TEN Steps to ANI’s eHealth Pledge Exit Disclaimer. Take the ANI pledge by “Liking” the ANI Facebook page Exit Disclaimer and share your experience.
  • ŸTake the ANA Pledge by going to the ANA Nursing World online pledge page Exit Disclaimer where you can select and submit a pledge.
  • ŸTune into the live stream of the Consumer Health IT Summit Exit Disclaimer on Monday, September 10, 2012.  Join in as the pledge community, including ANI members, celebrates the progress made and learn about efforts to make health information more easily available and to engage consumers in using their health data.
  • ŸInvite your organization’s leadership to make a pledge in support of ONC’s Consumer Pledge Program.
  • ŸWatch and share ONC’s “ Health IT for YOU” video where consumers can learn more about the benefits of health IT and how secure online access to your health record can help make sure you get the best care.
  • Contact your health care provider and “Ask for YOUR e-Health Record,” post, blog, or tweet your experience (#Ask4YourRecord), and encourage others to participate in “Ask for YOUR  e-Health Record Week”